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A virtual road to recovery for brain trauma

Specialist brain injury solicitor, Malcolm Underhill of IBB Claims, discusses how innovative technology is aiding rehabilitation.

It goes without saying that a brain injury, however small, can be life-changing, yet few are aware of how prevalent these injuries can be. In London alone, approximately 8,000 working age people are admitted to hospital every year with some form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), with victims usually suffering the effects for the rest of their lives.

These numbers are simply the tip of the iceberg, as it is far harder to track how many people in the UK, and worldwide, are living with acquired brain injuries (ABIs) arising from conditions like hypoxia, poisoning, or diseases such as meningitis.

Computer Assisted Rehabilitation

The complex nature of brain injury, coupled with the fact that symptoms can take weeks, or even months, to become apparent, means that treatment is often lengthy, complicated, and costly. Even securing a diagnosis can take time, which in turn prolongs the recovery process, and can make it harder for an individual to return to their former way of life.

This is where CAREN comes in: a Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment recently installed at the Salford-based Brain and Spinal Injury Centre (BASIC). Overseen by neuro-physiotherapist Sylvia Moss, patients are guided through a series of interactive video games, which can be tailored to the individual’s abilities and rehabilitation requirements.

The system tracks the user’s vital statistics, progress, and a range of other variables, highlighting any weaknesses or anomalies, and allowing them to see their progress from one session to the next.

The Road to Recovery

The use of virtual reality in the treatment of both physical and neurological injuries has been widely shown to speed up recovery, as patients are keen to challenge themselves in the safe environment provided by technology of this nature.

CAREN offers a taste of independence and freedom which can become rare for those with severe health concerns, such as brain or spinal injuries. It is more than just a fun experience however, as users often return keen to ‘beat their score’, or try something new, boosting their recovery process by inspiring a positive attitude towards therapy.

To see this in action, click here 

Walking on AIR

CAREN assists users via a programme of Accelerated Interactive Recovery, encouraging them to develop or relearn motor skills, improve their coordination and mobility, and build up self-confidence. CAREN also exercises cognition, and tests the user’s field of vision, and ability to multitask or complete complex movements.

While staff at the Salford centre stress that the system is not a replacement for physiotherapy, it does help patients build up muscle, and could serve as a useful supplement to ongoing treatment. The system’s neurocognitive functionality also make it a valuable aid in the treatment of stroke patients, or those suffering with neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia.

You Are Not Alone

In the wake of a brain injury, it can be challenging to balance your priorities, and services such as those offered by BASIC can make a world of difference. However, facilities such as this are not common nationwide, and more needs to be done at a local and national level to ensure that access to specialist care is improved.

After the initial shock of suffering a brain trauma, it is important to focus on the recovery process, and help is available every step of the way. In cases of medical negligence, or other instances where a third party is found liable for causing injury, you could also be awarded ongoing payments, which can contribute toward the cost of long-term care and specialist treatment.

If you or a loved one has been affected by brain injury, you can download our free life-changing advice guide, detailing the steps that can help you form a long-term plan for secure, stable and supportive rehabilitation.

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